Sundance 2013: Sex and comedies dominate competition

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Image Credit: Lake Bell, writer, director and star of 'In a World ...'

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In a World…
An underachieving vocal coach is motivated by her father, the king of movie-trailer voice-overs, to pursue her aspirations of becoming a voiceover star. Amidst pride, sexism and family dysfunction, she sets out to change the voice of a generation. (Director and screenwriter: Lake Bell) Cast: Lake Bell, Demetri Martin, Rob Corddry, Michaela Watkins, Ken Marino, Fred Melamed.

Kill Your Darlings
An untold story of murder that brought together a young Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs at Columbia University in 1944, providing the spark that led to the birth of an entire generation – their Beat revolution. (Director: John Krokidas, Screenwriters: Austin Bunn, John Krokidas) Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Dane DeHann, Ben Foster, Michael C. Hall, Jack Huston, Elizabeth Olsen.

The Lifeguard
A former valedictorian quits her reporter job in New York and returns to the place she last felt happy: her childhood home in Connecticut. She gets work as a lifeguard and starts a dangerous relationship with a troubled teenager. (Director and screenwriter: Liz W. Garcia)  Cast: Kristen Bell, Mamie Gummer, Martin Starr, Alex Shaffer, Amy Madigan, David Lambert.

May in the Summer
A bride-to-be is forced to reevaluate her life when she reunites with her family in Jordan and finds herself confronted with the aftermath of her parents’ divorce. (Director and screenwriter: Cherien Dabis) Cast: Cherien Dabis, Hiam Abbass, Bill Pullman, Alia Shawkat, Nadine Malouf, Alexander Siddig.

Mother of George
A story about a woman willing to do anything and risk everything for her marriage. (Director: Andrew Dosunmu, Screenwriter: Darci Picoult) Cast: Isaach De Bankolé, Danai Gurira, Anthony Okungbowa, Yaya Alafia, Bukky Ajayi.

The Spectacular Now
Sutter is a high school senior who lives for the moment; Aimee is the introvert he attempts to “save.” As their relationship deepens, the lines between right and wrong, friendship and love, and “saving” and corrupting become inextricably blurred. (Director: James Ponsoldt, Screenwriters: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber) Cast: Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, Brie Larson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kyle Chandler.

Touchy Feely
A massage therapist is unable to do her job when stricken with a mysterious and sudden aversion to bodily contact. Meanwhile, her uptight brother’s foundering dental practice receives new life when clients seek out his “healing touch.” (Director and screenwriter: Lynn Shelton) Cast: Rosemarie DeWitt, Allison Janney, Ron Livingston, Scoot McNairy, Ellen Page, Josh Pais.

Toy’s House
Three unhappy teenage boys flee to the wilderness where they build a makeshift house and live off the land as masters of their own destiny. Or at least that’s the plan. (Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts, Screenwriter: Chris Galletta)Cast: Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso, Moises Arias, Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally, Alison Brie.

Upstream Color
A man and woman are drawn together, entangled in the life cycle of an ageless organism. Identity becomes an illusion as they struggle to assemble the loose fragments of wrecked lives. Director and screenwriter: Shane Carruth) Cast: Amy Seimetz, Shane Carruth, Andrew Sensenig, Thiago Martins.

NEXT Category

“For me, there’s a stand-out section that I think will generate a lot of conversation at the festival and that’s the Next category,” says Groth. “The last few years we’ve had it, there have been a few films that popped out of there, and this year, we’re 10 deep. We expanded from eight to 10 based on the passionate response to these films by our programer. The section was conceived as a way to find a place in the festival for lower budget films, but as it evolved we got away from even thinking about budget of a film. It’s more about the attitude of the film. These are very singular visions. When you watch the films, you know there was something dying to get out, and that’s what’s on screen.”

For a look at those films, including Blue Caprice, starring Isaiah Washington in a drama inspired by the 2002 Beltway sniper shootings, and Computer Chess, filmmaker Andrew Bujalski’s comedy about geniuses battling a computerized chess opponent, go to the official Sundance page.

You can also go there to find the festival’s U.S. Documentary competition, and World Cinema dramatic and documentary fields.

For more on Sundance


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